This blog, the last in my set about the students of the Atlanta Student Movement, is no different from the rest. This blog’s purpose is to also bring the focus of the Movement to the students and make them and their contributions known. The Atlanta Student Movement and the Atlanta Sit-ins are very obscure when it comes to knowing about the actual students and I think that this needs to be addressed. In this blog, I will focus on Roslyn Pope, a student in the Atlanta Student Movement.
Roslyn Pope is acknowledged as being the president of the Student Government Association at Spelman College. That being said, Pope was a student at Spelman College as well.
Roslyn Pope is also known for signing the manifesto of the whole Movement. Roslyn Pope is forever recognized in the document “An Appeal for Human Rights” with her name at the end of the document. Pope is recognized at the end of the document because she is mainly the one that drafted the document and is given the credit for writing it. One source even gives her full credit for writing the manifesto. According to a source, Pope was the “author” of it. The document is about “the disparities within the education system, housing, and voting rights but also forced the nation to reevaluate the injustices plaguing the youth,” according to that same source.
According to Pope in a source, she explained that because of time constraints, she was in charge of writing the whole document single-handedly. She said that Lonnie King assigned that job to her. She felt empowered after just returning from study abroad in Paris with, “Having just returned from a year of study in Paris as a Merrill Scholar, I was not in the mood to return to segregation and second-class citizenship,” according to that same source. Seeing what it was like in another country to be treated differently, she knew that it was time to list the grievances that she felt that her people needed to address with their home city, Atlanta. This experience is what gave her the strength to write the whole document single-handedly apparently.
According to Roslyn Pope in an interview video, race-relations in Atlanta, when the Student Movement began, were the same as I would imagine, throughout the South, there were laws against black people, Negroes at the time, prohibiting us from sitting in certain places, eating in certain places, riding on certain modes of transportation, going to certain places of entertainment, if we were able to go see a movie, let’s say at the Fox Theatre, we were forced to walk up the back steps outside … we couldn’t use the public library downtown–segregation laws were extremely strict.”
According to another interview video, Roslyn came back after her Paris trip “full of anger, you couldn’t really tell because I still looked like a nice, young Spelman woman, but … I was asking what can I do, how can we change this?” (Going to add more here.)
On April 11, 2003, Roslyn Pope was honored by her alma mater, Spelman College, receiving an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters for her work in the Movement.
Thankfully, the movement will be getting a plaque on the Rich’s building which will further bring the Atlanta Student Movement at Rich’s into focus like the rest of the Student Movements around the country that were fighting to end segregation in public establishments. In recent news, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Rich’s building will be getting a plaque for “commemorating the Atlanta Student Movement’s Oct. 19, 1960, protest to desegregate the Rich’s Department Store in downtown Atlanta.” I think that this is a big step in making the Movement more known to the people of Atlanta and getting the history of Rich’s Atlanta out there.
Do you think that the movement is getting the attention that it deserves? Why are these people not so well known, like Roslyn Pope? Why is all of the information about the students of the movement so obscure? Do you think that the Movement and the students of the Movement need more notoriety? Feel free to leave me a comment in the comment section below or check out my contact page. Also, if you would like to learn more about me, feel free to visit my about page. I appreciate any feedback that you may have on this topic as a whole. Thank you for reading my blog and I really hope that you enjoyed these blog posts meant to bring the students to the front of the Atlanta Student Movement.